Co-sleep­ing with a baby is a ques­tion of par­ent­ing that does not have a clear answer. Both spe­cial­ists, and the old­er gen­er­a­tion, and young par­ents have dif­fer­ent opin­ions on this mat­ter, and often direct­ly oppo­site. The con­flict of opin­ions can even be with­in the same fam­i­ly. So what to do: should the child sleep in the par­ents’ bed or imme­di­ate­ly get used to his cra­dle? And if sleep, then how and until what age? A rea­son­able choice can be made on the basis of a com­pre­hen­sive study of the top­ic and your own deci­sion. Every­thing will have to be tak­en into account: the opin­ions of spe­cial­ists, per­son­al views on sleep hygiene, the con­ve­nience of adults, the indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics of the child, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of orga­niz­ing sleep. It is like­ly that before the cor­rect solu­tion is devel­oped, you will have to go through a cou­ple of test peri­ods. All this is nor­mal. We will talk about the exist­ing argu­ments “for” and “against”. Read what lead­ing experts think about co-sleep­ing (spoil­er: Ben­jamin Spock end­ed up chang­ing his mind).

Child and parents in the same bed: arguments against

Child and parents in the same bed: arguments against

Oppo­nents of co-sleep­ing with a baby pri­mar­i­ly point out the dis­ad­van­tages of such a prac­tice for par­ents. Sleep hygiene is dis­turbed, we have to remem­ber that there is a third mem­ber of the fam­i­ly in bed, small and help­less, we have to resolve issues of adult inti­ma­cy in a new for­mat. And in the future, you will have to wean the child from the par­en­t’s bed­room.

Sleep­ing with a baby is real­ly dan­ger­ous for the baby. Although cas­es of chil­dren being “slept” date back more to past cen­turies, and it is not entire­ly clear which was more com­mon: deaths among new­borns due to very tired adults and oth­er chil­dren in bed, or crim­i­nal meth­ods of get­ting rid of “Extra Mouth” Today, pedi­a­tri­cians cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly object to co-sleep­ing with a child if one of the par­ents smokes, even occa­sion­al­ly uses alco­hol, drugs that affect sleep, drugs, or is char­ac­ter­ized by sleep dis­or­ders with motor activ­i­ty, pro­nounced episodes of apnea, etc. In such cas­es, it is bet­ter don’t take risks.

Dr. Ben­jamin Spock, a pop­u­lar pedi­a­tri­cian from the Unit­ed States in our coun­try, dur­ing the main peri­od of his career protest­ed against chil­dren in the par­ents’ bed, allow­ing only the baby’s crib in the par­ents’ bed­room until the age of 6 months. After six months, accord­ing to Spock, the baby moved out with a bed in a sep­a­rate bed­room. Among the argu­ments, he used the dan­ger to the life of the child, which adults can crush, the unhy­gien­ic bed, the dif­fi­cul­ty with wean­ing in the future. How­ev­er, towards the end of his active career, Spock, him­self a father of many chil­dren, changed his mind on many issues of rais­ing chil­dren, includ­ing stop­ping protest­ing babies in their par­ents’ beds.

Toddler in adult bed: arguments for

There are many argu­ments in sup­port of co-sleep­ing. And sup­port­ers of such nights point out that all fam­i­ly mem­bers ben­e­fit.

Pros for the child: in the first year of life, the baby espe­cial­ly needs his moth­er. This is a peri­od of adap­ta­tion to life out­side the moth­er’s womb, to a new unfa­mil­iar world, and the moth­er near­by gives him a sense of secu­ri­ty, pro­vid­ing the basic need of the child. Many pedi­a­tri­cians and child psy­chol­o­gists are sure that such a dream helps the per­son­al­i­ty devel­op har­mo­nious­ly, argu­ing only about the age of “reset­tle­ment” from bed.

Pros for moth­er and child: the most basic — there is no need to “sleep half-heart­ed­ly”, jump up in the mid­dle of the night to feed the baby, and then return to bed. If in the first weeks, against the back­ground of a hor­mon­al rise and eupho­ria after child­birth, many moth­ers believe that night feed­ings are not a prob­lem, then fatigue and lack of sleep accu­mu­late lat­er. This is a direct path to phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al health dis­or­ders, up to episodes of con­fu­sion and depres­sion. When breast­feed­ing, co-sleep­ing helps to main­tain lac­ta­tion, as the pro­duc­tion of the hor­mone pro­lactin, which is respon­si­ble for the amount of milk, is stim­u­lat­ed by morn­ing attach­ments between 4 and 7 in the morn­ing.

Peace­ful sleep for the whole fam­i­ly: although any healthy baby will inevitably cry at night, but if the moth­er is near­by, then cry­ing ends much faster even in the case of col­ic and teething. Less scream­ing means more sleep for every­one in the house.

Less motion sick­ness: dur­ing preg­nan­cy, the baby gets used to feel­ing the moth­er lit­er­al­ly “at hand”. And it is not easy to wean from this feel­ing of calm and secu­ri­ty: some chil­dren cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly refuse sep­a­rate beds, falling asleep only in their arms and wak­ing up again at the moment of putting them to bed.

Health Ben­e­fits for Baby: Babies who sleep with their par­ents are less respon­sive to exter­nal and inter­nal stim­uli, from col­ic to sick­ness. Less wor­ry ensures faster recov­ery. This is espe­cial­ly impor­tant for babies who were born pre­ma­ture­ly, have devel­op­men­tal delays, were injured in child­birth.

Accord­ing to pedi­a­tri­cian Nils Bergman, co-sleep­ing with a baby up to 3 years old helps him ful­ly devel­op and in the future it is eas­i­er to inter­act with the out­side world and estab­lish social ties. E. O. Komarovsky sup­ports this opin­ion, with the excep­tion of age lim­its. The doc­tor believes that you can sleep togeth­er as much as is con­ve­nient for all fam­i­ly mem­bers.

Organization of joint sleep: how and how much

Organization of joint sleep: how and how much

Age is the main “stum­bling block” in the opin­ions of med­ical pro­fes­sion­als. There are terms of 1 year, 3 years, all posi­tions have their own argu­ments. Child psy­chol­o­gists are more unan­i­mous and believe that it is nor­mal to sleep togeth­er until the age of 5–7 if the child is healthy and not in a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion.

It is also nec­es­sary to orga­nize a joint dream accord­ing to the rules: the child must have a dense mat­tress, not a soft feath­er bed or sag­ging springs, a sep­a­rate dia­per or sheet, his own light blan­ket. Pil­lows are not required for chil­dren under two years of age. It is bet­ter to lay the baby not between adults, but on the one hand, opti­mal­ly — next to the moth­er.

One of the best co-sleep­ing options is a crib that slides up or a spe­cial crib that is attached to an adult’s bed. You can cov­er it from the light of a night lamp or TV, cov­er it with sep­a­rate chil­dren’s under­wear and not wor­ry that the baby will fall. This ensures all the con­di­tions for the child, safe­ty in a sep­a­rate sleep­ing place, and at the same time, the par­ents are very close.


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